Culture Of Time Groundhog Day's Best Supporting Actor Is A Bedside Alarm Clock
Groundhog Day means two things: A ritual observation of the namesake animal on February 2, and (thanks to a certain Bill Murray movie) the feeling of living the same experience over and over and over. Groundhog Day has been unstoppably popular since 1993, to the point where the film itself feels like it's on an endless loop. And the device that sets its whole plot in motion is the Panasonic RC-6025 radio alarm clock, whose satisfying flip action signals another morning just like the last by blasting an immortal folk-schmaltz ditty courtesy of Sonny & Cher. Fake Watcheshttps://www.watchesbiz.co/ The RC-6025 pulls a helluva performance. No doubt you can still picture its black flaps with their no-nonsense white Helvetica numbers as they fall, womp, and change 5:59 AM to 6:00 – again, and again, and again as "I Got You Babe" trills from the speaker. This clock is not just a piece of set decoration. It's a character unto itself. It has dramatic close-ups, stunt doubles, voice actors, and even a catchphrase: "Okay, campers, rise and shine..." Clock Made in Japan in the 1970s, the RC-6025 is a workaday timekeeper. It's got AM/FM radio with classic '70s-style tuning (and hi-fi aesthetic), a few knobs to set the time and adjust the "sleep selector" (aka the alarm), a cable power source (though certain scenes in Groundhog Day would imply otherwise), and split-flap action. You might say the clock comes from a Hollywood family. Its kin, the RC-6015, made an appearance in Back to the Future (1985), and the RC-6067 showed up in Home Alone (1990). Despite the Groundhog Day scenes in which the RC-6025 is smashed, the thing is sturdy. According to movie lore, Murray couldn't destroy it by throwing it to the ground, so the clock had to be pummeled with a hammer to get the effect we see on screen, with pieces spread on the carpet like a picnic and "I Got You Babe" still trilling, if a little less confidently, from the mashed machine. To fully appreciate how perfect this particular clock is for this particular movie, let's revisit the context. Murray plays Phil Connors, a cantankerous, glitzier-than-thou weatherman who gets stuck in a mystical forever of February 2nds on location in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, where a local-famous groundhog is about to see or not see its shadow. Murray's producer, Rita (played by a luminous Andie MacDowell), is too pretty not to get Phil's attention, though he thinks she's provincial. Groundhog Day Phil resents the town and the 'hog ceremony, and wants a good hotel for his suffering. Rita, ever thoughtful, has booked him a room at the Cherry Street Inn. It's not exactly the Marriott we can assume Phil had hoped for, but it's cute in a doilies-on-coffee-tables way, with diaphanous pastel curtains, floral wallpaper, and handmade quilts. The bathroom is shared, with unreliable hot water. What kind of clock should Phil find in a room at the Cherry Street Inn? Certainly not a burnished chrome number from Bang & Olufsen or the Sharper Image, which one might expect to find in the Bonaventure. No, only the RC-6025, with its rugged durability and grocery-store-aisle aesthetics, would make sense on a nightstand in this joint, blithely blaring a love song that charted 30 years ago. The clock is a magical portal to the karmic lesson Phil must learn before returning to real life. ADVERTISEMENT By starting every day the same way, the RC-6025 announces Phil's spiritual journey in purgatory. The clock is a magical portal to the karmic lesson Phil must learn (over the course of what movie acolytes have deduced amounts to approximately 12 years and six months, though others say 30 or 40 years) before returning to real life. It waits calmly and functions dutifully until Phil achieves enlightenment, at which point it releases him into a rewired tomorrow. Today, the RC-6025 enjoys enough of a cult following that it's basically the Bill Murray of radio alarm clocks. Both have Etsy tags dedicated to their likeness as reproduced on posters, pins, and T-shirts. And both are somehow highly public and oddly elusive. While Murray gives unpredictable interviews, the RC-6025 has become as rare in the wild as a snow leopard. The only one I could find available and in good condition as of this writing was going for $485 on eBay. Between long-ago 1993 and our somber present, Murray's attitude has evolved in a way strikingly similar to Phil's. Notoriously difficult on the set of the movie (which famously helped end his long-time friendship with director Harold Ramis), the actor attended the Groundhog Day Broadway musical in 2017 and cried. The RC-6025, meanwhile, was unavailable for comment.